WG – Chapter 161: Guardian of the Library

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In the game, a riddle quest is a quest that you have to answer correctly in order to progress. 

As for what would show up, the one that I often see in games is ‘What has 4 legs in the morning, 2 at noon, and 3 at night?’.

The answer is human. 

On four when it is a baby, standing up on two legs when it grows, and at the end, you will be on three legs counting the cane. 

It is a riddle that’s being clowned on often with comments like ‘a human doesn’t grow that fast, you idiot’ or ‘a cane isn’t a leg’, but you probably can get the gist of it with that. 

Of course, there’s ones where you have to decipher a code, questions where they test your knowledge of the game by asking about the people that show up or the locations. There’s also questions of how long was your playtime, how many enemies you have defeated, or normal riddles.

And it is normal to not be able to progress unless you solve those problems. 

You might think I am just spitting the obvious here, but this is a pretty important point. There’s a lot of cases in riddles where, if you don’t reach the answer at first, you won’t be able to reach the correct answer no matter how many hours you take. 

It is possible to reach a state where you have to give up on clearing the game because you couldn’t get one question. 

However, that’s only in the case when you do it on your own effort. 

In this era, you can just search for the answer in the net somewhere, and it is almost impossible to get stuck in game quizzes.

…Unless the game is Nekomimi Neko. 

The Nekomimi Neko developers feared that the players would clear their game by using walkthroughs, so they prepared 2,000 questions in total for the riddle quest, and you have to clear the 50 randomly assigned questions from within those. 

And so, the industriousness of the developers in the wrong direction gave birth to the monster called The One who knows Wisdom which is most likely impossible to clear even by the developers themselves. 

However, I wouldn’t really say that’s detrimental to us. 

“…I see. So this ‘The One who knows Wisdom’ quest could serve as a protective wall against the Mage Guild?” (Mitsuki)

I omit the game elements and tell them about the quest, the One who knows Wisdom, and the perceptive Mitsuki asked this. 

“It really helps that you are quick on the uptake. That’s right. Our objective is to stop the ritual of the Mage Guild. There’s no need for us to clear that quest, and we could take the route of not solving the contraptions.” (Souma)

“T-Then, does that mean we are not doing that quest?” (Ina)

I answered with a shake of my head at Ina who asked this while raising her hand. 

“No, considering the future, it would be better to clear the quest. I of course plan on challenging it today. However, that quest is probably impossible to clear with normal means. I do have an effective way to clear it, but…” (Souma)

I glanced at Leila.

I still haven’t told Leila that this is a game world. 

Considering the actions of Leila until now, I think she would accept it if I were to tell her properly, but it would be better to refrain from talking about game clear methods in front of Leila for now. 

I wrap things up while choosing my words. 

“…There’s a variety of issues to it. That’s why I am thinking that, as long as I can confirm the Nekuranomikon this time around, clearing the quest is secondary.” (Souma)

I think I am worrying too much here, but from what I remember of the Mage Guild quest, there’s only 3 necessary things for their ritual. 

They need a massive amount of magic power necessary for the spell, in other words Element; a whole lot of mithril which is necessary to shape the spell; and the Nekuranomikon to control it. 

There’s also other parts of the quest like getting rid of the spy that was sent by the kingdom, destroying the houses where enemy factions have barricaded themselves in, executing traitors from within the faction; a whole lot of violence. However, I doubt those are directly linked to the success of the ritual. 

The Element and mithril, they can definitely get it if they take their time, so in order to stop the ritual for sure, we would have no other choice but to secure the Nekuranomikon. 

Anyways, it would be best if we hurry to the library as quickly as possible. 

I looked back at Leila and entrusted her with the house. 

“Well then, Leila, we will be heading out for a bit, so stay—” (Souma)

“W-Wait! …C-Can’t I go with you too?” (Leila)

“Eh?” (Souma)

I tried to, but Leila requested this of me instead. 

“But…” (Souma)

We had Leila join us solely for the cooking, and she isn’t exactly the most reliable fighting force. 

Also, if she were to do the ‘Death to the Infidel!!’ in public, even if there’s no physical harm to it, it could be bad for our reputation. 

I hesitated there, and Leila’s face visibly grew more dejected. 

“Ah, s-sorry. If you don’t want to, I won’t force you to. That’s why…that’s why…please don’t throw me away…” (Leila)

She suddenly began crying. 

I was dumbfounded for a moment, but I soon ran to Leila and…

“No, you are jumping all over the place! I didn’t say a single word about throwing you away.” (Souma)

I patted the back of Leila while smoothing things over, and she calmed down somewhat. 

She showed me a smile while clearly pushing herself here. 

“I-I am sorry for being selfish there. If you so say, I won’t ever leave this mansion for the rest of my life. I will wait for 10 or even 100 years for your return, Souma. That’s why…that’s why…please don’t thro—” (Leila)

“As I said, I won’t!” (Souma)

How can she bring the talk from one extreme to the other? 

Even when she has reached the 3rd stage, she is still timid, or like, it feels as if her yandere elements she inherited from the game Leila are being steered into a different direction. 

Messing it up here could lead to a whole lot of trouble. 

Having that feeling, I chose my words even more carefully than before and tried to persuade Leila.

“There’s no need to go that far. It is not like I find it a bother for you to come. But there’s nothing interesting in the library, and there’s no need to push yourself to come…” (Souma)

When I tried to run away like that, Leila intensified her pitch. 

“I am not at all, absolutely zero pushing myself here!! I research ruins, so I am really interested in the puzzle solving of a library! T-That’s why, I want to try it out…!” (Leila)

“Aah, I-I see.” (Souma)

Speaking of which, Leila took the initiative to solve all the puzzles in the ruins we went together to before. 

It really does make sense that she would like that stuff. 

But…

“That’s…not such good stuff, you know?” (Souma)

The puzzles of the One who knows Wisdom aren’t that decent. 

Rather, they are horrible gimmicks that you would get stressed the more you do them. 

“For your sake, it is better to not get involved in—” (Souma)

“B-But I really want to try it out! P-Puzzle solving is my lifework… No, my very life itself!” (Leila)

She went pretty big there. 

I didn’t know she placed that much value on her life in solving puzzles. 

—Solving puzzles is life. 

Words that you might even see as a quote somewhere. 

However, this and that are two different matters. 

Bringing Leila really wouldn’t be a good idea…

“Isn’t it fine?” (Mitsuki)

When I was still hesitating here, Mitsuki threw in a word from the side. 

“But…” (Souma)

“It is not like we are heading to the outside of the city, and there’s no danger, right? Also, her knowledge might be of use.” (Mitsuki)

It is difficult for me to refute it if you put it like that. 

I learned this at the time of the Prince Charming, but when it comes to ruins and old legends, Leila’s knowledge can’t be underestimated. 

Of course, The One who knows Wisdom isn’t so soft that you would be able to clear it just by being a bit skilled at puzzles, but that doesn’t mean it is completely useless. 

I have cleared this quest once in my game days. 

But, at that time, I used a technique that could be considered a hidden trick, and when I got stuck in the quiz, I would instantly search it in the Wiki and answer exactly as written. 

Now that I can’t check the Wiki, clearing this quest will rely on my memory, but I have no confidence in being able to remember all the 50 questions of the quiz.

“…Can you promise that you will obey my orders and not move anything on your own whim?” (Souma)

“Y-Yes! Leave it to me! I will listen to anything you say, Souma! I would die if you told me to die, and if you were to tell me you don’t need me anymore…if you tell me that…” (Leila)

Leila began to tremble, scared of her own imagination. 

Sorry to say this, but that’s quite the pain in the ass. 

I am beginning to feel like it would be less of a pain if I bring her with me. 

“I wouldn’t say either of those. Got it. Just this time alone, you can come, Leila.” (Souma)

“T-Thanks, Souma!” (Leila)

And in this way, we added Leila who was strangely enthused, and we ended up heading to the library with a big group of 7.

The way from the mansion to the library is pretty close. 

We leave the mansion while waving to the Bear who took the place of Leila in staying at home, and begin talking about the steps from now on as we walk.

“…And so, there’s a contraption at the deepest bookshelf of the library, and when you change the arrangement, the bookshelf will move and the sphinx will show up. If you answer the questions of the sphinx correctly, you can go down to the basement, but it is difficult to clear it normally.” (Souma)

“But you would be able to, right, Souma-san?” (Ina)

I felt itchy at the gaze of Ina that was filled with trust and nodded. 

“It is not certain, but I do know of a method to lower the difficulty of the puzzles.” (Souma)

When I said this, Ina and Leila looked at me as if saying ‘that’s my Souma!’.

Maki spoke with a slightly cold tone in contrast. 

“We are talking about you, so it is most likely nothing decent, right?” (Maki)

“Don’t call it that. It is normal. Normal.” (Souma)

That said, this is a clearing method related to the game’s nature. 

How can I even explain it to a person that doesn’t know how the game works? 

“Uhm, you see, there’s at least a few set rules within the problems that the Beckoning Sphinx brings out. They are stored in a different place from normal, like an omikuji—hm?” (Souma)

Something happened while I was having difficulty explaining.

From the very front, at the direction of the library, I saw a man in black robe walking our way. 

“…Souma?” (Ringo)

Ringo looked up at me uneasy, and I signal them to be careful with only my gaze.

(…No doubt about it.) (Souma)

The robed man steadily approached. 

That’s a mage from the Mage Guild. 

Also, not just any member. 

It is one of the confidants of the Guildmaster, Salmon. 

He has a fish-like name despite being one of the high ranks in the guild, and his fighting capabilities are pretty high too. 

Of course, it is not an enemy that we wouldn’t be able to win against if we were to fight, but the issue is the direction he came from. 

(Could it be…) (Souma)

I try my best not to follow Salmon with my gaze, but even so, I still continue observing him from the corner of my eye. 

His face is hidden with the hood and I can’t see his expression.

It looks as if he doesn’t have anything else aside from the staff at his waist and a bag. 

But if the bag he has at his waist is an adventurer bag, it wouldn’t be strange for him to have anything. 

“!!” 

Within that tense atmosphere, Salmon crossed paths with us and…passed by.

“…Fuuh.” (Souma)

I exhale the breath I was holding in. 

We are objectively a group that stands out, but it seems like Salmon had no interest in us. 

Or maybe it was because he achieved something that didn’t allow him to care about us. 

“Was that someone from the Mage Guild just now?” (Mitsuki)

Mitsuki got close to me and asked me this when Salmon was nowhere in sight anymore. 

Looks like Mitsuki did notice. 

“Yeah, Salmon from the Mage Guild. He might have come out from the library… Can you follow his location?” (Souma)

“I can. We passed by each other just now and I now have his name.” (Mitsuki)

Mitsuki’s cat ears stood upright as if saying ‘battle stance!’ and showed me their passion.

On the other hand, I was hesitating on what to do as I told this to Mitsuki.

There’s no building aside from the library which a mage would go to. 

Even so, I doubt the quest has been overcome, but there’s still that slight possibility.

“No, there’s no point thinking about it here. Change of plans.” (Souma)

The entrance of the library is in sight already. 

However, I didn’t move onwards and turned around, heading towards an alley at the side of the library. 

“Souma?! Where are you going?!” (Maki)

Maki raised her voice at my sudden action.

I looked back and shouted.

“Sorry, everyone, go in from the entrance! Go straight to the opposite wall! I will go around from the back!” (Souma)

“B-Back, you say. But the only entrance to the library is here…” (Maki)

Even the time used to speak was too precious. 

I set the Time Activation for Petitplosion in my head and answered roughly.

“I told you the basement is at the deep end of the library, right? You can’t use skills inside the library! It is 100 times faster to go from the back!” (Souma)

“Souma!” (Maki)

Maki was still saying something, but I ignored her. 

I feel like it is pointless to hurry here at this point, but I have a bad feeling.

([Step], [High Step], [Ground Compression]!) (Souma)

It has been a while since I have used the movement skill combo. 

I deserted even the voices of Maki and the others, and went deep inside the alley, moving along the outer walls of the library. 

([Step][Side Slash][Step][Side Slash], [High Step], [Ground Compression], [Petitplosion]…[Step], [Instant Charge], [Step], [High Step], [Eternal Heaven Soaring Blade], [Air Hammer][Instant Charge], [Air Hammer], [Instant Charge], [Step], [High Step], [Ground Compression]!) (Souma)

I used Godstep Cancel to zigzag around the obstructions, used Soaring Blade to go over the heads of people, used Air Hammer and Instant Charge to land ahead, and went through the alley with the utmost speed. 

On the way…

“W-Wa?! Did something just pass—” 

“A tengu. A tengu showed—” 

“Was that the turbo geezer?! I thought that was an urban—” 

I think the people I passed by said something, but I left behind even those voices and got to the back of the library. 

“Fuh!” (Souma)

I used Petitplosion at the end to eliminate the opening of the movement, and finally took a breath. 

However, I can’t take too much time in that or there wouldn’t have been any point in me hurrying this much. 

I chanted the spell while adjusting my distance to the library, and immediately activated it. 

“[Infinite Mirage Prison]!” (Souma)

 

“…Finally here.” (Souma)

I sensed the several footsteps heading here and muttered this, closing the book I was reading. 

As for the result of me hurrying: the Nekuranomikon was fine. 

Not only that. The contraption of the bookshelf deep inside the library hasn’t been discovered yet, and the Beckoning Sphinx had not even come out yet. 

It is a bit embarrassing to say this myself, but my intuition really isn’t reliable. 

It is to the point that I even thought there was no need for me to hurry so much I even wall jumped. 

By the way, you would think you can’t enter the library using the wall jump bug since it is forbidden to use spells and skills inside the library, but the effect of the skill is cut off the moment you enter, so it is instead easy to get in. 

I got inside after a few tries of Infinite Mirage Prison, and after confirming that my comrades had not arrived yet, I immediately began to operate the contraption of the bookshelf. 

I remember it clearly. 

When I switched a number of the blue front covers on the shelf, the bookshelf made a rumbling sound as it moved, and a strange statue showed up. 

The protector of the Nekuranomikon and the One who knows Wisdom. 

Also known as the Beckoning Sphinx.

A human face, lion body, and pointy ears like those of a cat, standing on two legs, and with both front legs bent like one of those cat statues holding a coin.

Putting it simply, it is like a fusion of a beckoning cat with a sphinx, at a rate of 1:8. 

The quest obviously hasn’t begun, and the Beckoning Sphinx is still silent. 

There’s no real need to hurry now. 

And so, I was waiting for them while reading a book.

“…Souma-san!” (Ina)

I turned around calmly at the lower than usual call as if I hadn’t run off in a hurry. 

“Aah, Ina. You took your time. See, this is the—hm?” (Souma)

I noticed after looking back. 

All my comrades walking over here were showing tense faces, and I could see an unfamiliar bespectacled lady at the front of their group. 

This woman that has her attire, hair, and glasses all in an orderly fashion seemed to be glaring at me for some reason. 

(Who is this person…? No, I think I have seen her before, but…) (Souma)

I can’t remember. 

However, judging from their grim faces, I doubt she is coming here with good news. 

(This timing…is it the Mage Guild? But was there a person like this in the Mage Guild? Even so, it is strange that Ringo and Mitsuki are not saying anything if that’s the case…) (Souma)

This was so sudden, my thoughts were in a disarray. 

Also, the bespectacled woman was giving off a sharp atmosphere that made people nervous and accelerated my unrest. 

I was hit by that atmosphere and put the book I was reading inside my bag hurriedly, and almost reflexively fixed my posture. 

She furrowed her brows as she watched my actions, and she finally walked over to me. 

“…I will go straight to the point here.” 

There was no greeting no nothing.

This bespectacled girl stopped in front of me, and pushed her right hand at me. 

I flinched at that out of reflex, and she said this with a whole ton of pressure. 

“If you are entering the library, pay the entrance fee properly!!” 

——-

Author: You definitely must not break and enter. 

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